Surf Tips

Turn Retrosexual

Rasta’s Timeless Off-The-Wall Gouge

OK, so you grew yourself a beard and learned to strum a few chords on the axe. You bought some vintage jeans, cool retro tee’s and stuff. You probably got hold of an old Super 8 cine camera and started ‘documenting life’. Then you dug up an old twinnie, single fin or stubby early thruster from somewhere and came up with a groovy explanation like, “Yeah, last winter on the North Shore I found this one under the house.” Now there’s only one thing standing in the way of you becoming a well-paid, universally adored professional free surfer.

You have to learn how to turn it.

1. It’s no good trying to pull new-school moves on your retro shape: 360 airs, fins-out wacks, that kind of stuff. Even in the unlikely event that you pull any of it off, you’ll look confused, historically disorientated and you’ll never have real retrosexuality. What you should be thinking about instead are classic, timeless lines. One of the great things about your retro board is that with its wider planshape you can crank down the line at warp speed. Do that, then pick your spot to start turning. You can see here that Rasta’s got his body quite a long way behind the board looking, at this stage, like he’s going to pull a layback snap rather than a standard carve.

2. Let the bird fly. All that speed you generated means that spray is flying off your outrageously wide swallowtail. If it’s a short fishy board like Rasta’s here, the arc of your carve can be nice and tight. Rasta’s shoulders have opened up, and whilst his body is still a fair way behind his raft, he’s now shaping to push into more of a regular carving turn than a layback. Retro shapes may well have less refined rails and rockers than today’s highest performance craft, and as a result you might not be driving all the way through your turn as you can on modern thrusters. Practice will tell you how hard you can push it.

3. Talk the torque. Rasta is letting this head-high bump know what time it is, and his turn has become a full-blown power carve. Time to pay homage to the greats; MP, BK, Terry Fitz, whoever you like. Like a jazz musician blowin’ phrases in the style of Charlie Parker you tip your hat, and you’ll be glad you spent all those hours watching Morning of the Earth and Free Ride as your turn becomes a timeless tribute to your old school heroes. Getting this bit right will completely justify your new retro lifestyle, the difference between getting a ‘What’s the point?’ and a ‘This hepcat knows what’s up.’ If you’ve got some funky resin-tinted colours on the underside of your board, a trippy custom airbrush, Joan Armatrading lyrics or whatever else, then this is the time to show em off to the world.

4-5. Rasta begins to sign off his ever-tightening arc, with the style dial still turned up to ‘high’. Check out his left hand, the delicate curled finger eloquence of it all. Then, with his retro shape now pointing back into the curl from whence it came (don’t miss the underlying mystical significance of that), Rasta starts to complete his work. He’s starting to bring his board back underneath his body so that his weight is above the board, but in one clean, controlled movement. Again, these boards might be less predictable than a standard thruster in terms of sliding or spinning out at the end of a hard turn. You’ll have to stay open minded and ready to go with the flow, bro.

6. Here Rasta is controlling the end of his turn right from the abs – check out his six pack! He likes to keep his rig pretty trim and limber and you can see here that it pays off. You’ll want to be nice and low down to the board like Rasta to control it as it starts to slide out at the end of this turn. And if you’re concerned that getting slidey is too new school, compromising your retro-sexuality, then fret not. Guys like Larry Bertlemann were pulling off rad slidey stuff way way back, possibly before you were even born, so you’re fine. Come in, write a song or a chant about your session, play the didgeridoo by the fire. The beans are nearly ready.


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